Florida Keys Camping

If you have an adventurous spirit, or if you’re on a budget, Florida Keys camping can be worked into your vacation plans easily. There are campgrounds up and down the Keys, some are private and some state-run by the state parks system of Florida. Most offer spots for RVs and for tents, although there are some here and there that cater only to RV travelers. In general, that you’ll find with Florida Keys camping is that most campgrounds are geared towards visitors with recreational vehicles rather than the casual car camper with a tent.

The Best Seasons for Camping in the Keys

Southern Florida and the Keys are hot and humid during half the year. From May to October, it’s sticky and the sun is blazing. Tent camping during these months requires a certain hardiness to weather and an understanding of how to keep cool when it’s hotter than anything outside. If you tent camp during the hotter months, pick your campsite wisely. Shade is key, but catching a breeze is also important. Pick a site that’s under a tree but facing the sea, to catch ocean breezes. It’s hot and humid even at night. If you’ve tent camped in the American Southwest, don’t count on the temperature dramatically falling after sunset, as it does in the desert. Desert sand loses its heat quickly after the sun stops beating on it. The Florida Keys retain the heat, and plus the humidity doesn’t go down after dark. RVers won’t worry so much about the weather because they travel with modern comforts that protect them from the heat and humidity. Tenters know that hanging out at the campsite isn’t really part of the itinerary when planning a Florida Keys camping trip!

Florida Keys camping

Your tent should have “windows”, where the breeze can flow through. Otherwise, you’ll be trapped inside with your own perspiration, adding to the already intense humidity. Keeping the door flap open isn’t really an option because the bugs will get you! Get a tent with screened windows that won’t allow bugs through.

Tent sites can vary from place to place. Long Key State Park has excellent sites, along the beach facing the Atlantic Ocean. They have raised platforms. It’s great. But Sugarloaf Key KOA has a back lot for tents that looks like a dust bowl. It’s remote and natural looking, which is a plus, but it’s a little dusty, too. Your equipment and your stuff will get dusty. Once you get beyond the dry dirt, the sites are unique and remote at KOA. But really, KOAs are geared for RVs. The State Parks do a nice job of providing excellent spots just for tenters, as opposed to back lots that seem to be leftover space, like an afterthought in an RV park.

The winter months in the Florida Keys are pleasant for tent campers. The temperature drops into the 70s and occasionally even into the high 60s on the coldest days. The humidity lets up as well, providing tenters some beautiful crisp nights under the stars. The winter months are typically the dry season, so the dustiness doesn’t go away, but the weather is so much better it makes up for a little dust.

In general, tent camping in the Florida Keys is doable all year round, but in the winter months, from November to May, it’s much much more fun. If you go during summer months, which last from May to October, plan to get up with the sun and leave your site for cooler spots. Bring lots of bug spray and use the pool at the campground to your advantage. Have fun!

How To Research Your Next Florida Camping Trip

How hard can it be to decide to go camping? Well, without a little preparation, a weekend or a week can go horribly wrong if you choose the wrong place to camp. Here are a few things to think about before you leave your driveway:

1. If you are tent camping, does the campground accept tenters? Surprisingly, a huge number of private RV parks and campgrounds do not allow tent camping.

2. RVers should determine in advance whether their destination provides full or partial hooks. Are the electrical hookups 30amp only or up to 50amp? Are pets or children permitted? Does the campground have restrictions on the age of the camper allowed into their campground? Is the RV park for Class A motorhomes only? And, are the RV sites large enough to accommodate your unit?

3. Check to make sure that there will be space available upon your arrival. You may need to make an advance reservation.

The list above is a good starting point to decide what you want from your camping trip. Your first efforts should begin with visiting the campground’s website and finding out whether or not your specific needs can be accommodated. Sometimes it’s worth traveling a little further or paying a little bit more to insure that your trip brings you the enjoyment you deserve.

You can start your research by visiting this Camping in Florida web page that lists Florida campgrounds by city that have a website.

Florida Keys Campgrounds

Florida Keys Campgrounds

Florida Keys campgrounds come in several varieties. For the most part, RV campers will find that most Florida Keys campgrounds will accommodate their needs. Florida has extremely hot and humid weather conditions for part of the year, so tent campers are not as common as they would be in many other parts of the country. In general, the Florida Keys campgrounds seem to be geared towards RVers, but they do reserve spots for tenters as well. Keep in mind, prices quoted can change at any time, and are also subject to an 11.5% tax.

Key Largo Campgrounds

Starting in Key Largo, there is Kings Kamp at mile marker 103.5. On the bayside, they have RV sites and tent sites, pleasantly nestled along grassy patches with views of Florida Bay. Like all Florida Keys campgrounds, rates will seem high compared to other campgrounds in the country. During tourist season, it’s $50 per night. They also have weekly and monthly rates with a slight discount over the daily rate. Also available are motel rooms and efficiencies. If you have a boat you’ll be glad to know they have a marina too.

The Key Largo Kampground is found at mile marker 101.5 on the bay side. They have RV and tent sites, ranging from $33 a night for a bare bones tent site with no electricity to $70 a night for an RV site with a water view. They are a full service campground with social activities such as shuffleboard, bingo and dance classes. There’s a beautiful large pool- two actually, playground, clubhouse, and volleyball court.

Calusa Camp Resort is another Florida Keys campground on the bay side in Key Largo. They have full hook-ups, pets are accepted, and they also have propane. Find this campground at mile marker 101.5. Also offered are the usual full service camping amenities such as laundry, hot showers, propane sales, pool and clubhouse.

Campgrounds in the Middle Keys

Knights Key Campground is at mile marker 47, practically under the eastern end of the Seven Mile Bridge. They’ll accommodate tents and RVs with plenty of services and amenities.

Fiesta Key KOA is set up for any kind of camper, from tenters to full RV travelers. They have a pool, snackbar, dog walking area, and beautiful sunset views.

Jolly Roger Travel Park is at mile marker 59 on the Gulf Side, or bayside. They have just RV spots and offer a discount for Passport America holders.

Campgrounds in the Key West Area

Bluewater RV resort is actually fourteen miles from the city of Key West, but it is considered a Key Westcampground. It’s all in the name: Bluewater RV Resort does not allow car campers or tent campers! Rates are from $70 a night for an off-season basic site to $185 a night for peak season premium site.

Boyd’s Campground may be the best deal for camping in Key West. It’s on Stock Island, which is the island next to Key West, at mile marker 4. They welcome tenters as well as RVers. You can catch a city bus right from the campground to downtown Key West, or you can just ride a bicycle over the bridge, it’s so close. They’re on they ocean side and their sites have great views.

Leo’s Campground & RV Park is also on stock Island and also has tent sites plus RV spots. They’re $39 a night in the off season for tent spots, ($49 for RV spots) and $45 for peak season tent spots, $62 for RVs.

Sugarloaf Key/KOA is not in Key West or even Stock Island but it’s close enough for convenience, at mile marker 20. They run a bus to Key West every day, or you can drive the 20 miles in a snap.